Since his first season with Kansas City Christian School, Johnny Goodwin has been a player to watch in the Kansas City area high school tennis scene.
He won the Kansas Class 3-2-1A state title as a freshman, placed second as a sophomore and rose to the top again this season, finishing as state champion with a 30-0 record.
While his individual accomplishments come as no surprise, KC Christian coach Brad Belden said what made this season really special for Goodwin was the team’s success.
“Last year we came one point away from winning state, so anyone — even him winning one more match — and we could have won as a team,” Belden said. “I think that drove him this year, knowing that he could have won and helped the team so that made him push himself. He also pushed his teammates to get better and seal the team title.”
Goodwin delivered, leading the Panthers to their first team state title in program history. As a result, Goodwin has been selected The Star’s All-Metro boys tennis player of the year.
Goodwin not only went undefeated, but did so against some tough competition that included both the Kansas Class 6A state champion, Brooks Kendall of Shawnee Mission East, and Kansas Class 4A state titlist Tommy Hunter of Topeka Hayden.
According to Goodwin’s father, John, Goodwin is planning on signing this fall with the University of Texas. The Longhorns finished in eighth place in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association team rankings at the end of the season.
The Star’s All-Metro boys tennis team
Johnny Goodwin, Kansas City Christian, junior. He capped a 30-0 season, which included victories over the Kansas Class 6A and 4A state champions, by winning his second Kansas Class 3-2-1A singles state championship. He also led the Panthers to their first team state title.
Brooks Kendall, Shawnee Mission East, senior. After finishing third in the state tournament the past two seasons, Kendall finally broke through to win the Kansas Class 6A singles championship. He finished with a 24-3 record and helped the Lancers win their third consecutive team title.
Alex Koca, Rockhurst, senior. A year after sitting out the Missouri Class 2 singles tournament because of an emergency appendectomy, Koca battled through a tough draw to win the state championship without dropping a set. He finished his season with a 21-6 record.
March Zheng, Pembroke Hill, senior. He provided the best showing of any Kansas City area player in the Missouri Class 1 state singles tournament, placing third. He finished 23-5 and also placed third at the Blue Valley Northwest tournament.
Jack Evans, junior, and Joseph O'Connor, junior, Rockhurst. After dropping the first set in the Missouri Class 2 state championship match, the duo bounced back to win a three-set thriller against their teammates and take home the state title. Evans and O’Connor finished the season 20-4.
John Nogalski, senior, and Jacob Moore, senior, Rockhurst. The Missouri Class 2 defending state champions settled for second place this season when they fell to their teammates in the state championship match. Nogalski and Moore finished with a 17-5 record this season.
The Star’s All-Metro selection process
The Kansas City Star’s All-Metro selections were made by members of the high school sports staff, who consulted coaches ballots. An athlete must participate in at least 60 percent of the competition for which the athlete has qualified to be eligible for first-team selection. Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, The Star only makes first-team selections in all sports except football, basketball and track and field.